Skype to Launch Star Trek-Style, Real-Time Language Translator

By Ashley Feinberg on at

Microsoft just demoed an awesome new feature for Skype that will actually let you speak to people in other languages, in real-time, by doing all the translating dirty work for you.

Skype Chief Gurdeep Pall teased the new feature at Re/code's Code Conference, calling up a German-speaking exec to show off the new translation chops. According to a few German-speaking members of the audience, the translation was "pretty good" but not perfect.

When in use, the new feature displays a translation of the other person's words at the bottom of your screen. It's not quite instant (you'll have to wait until the other person finishes before you can see what they're saying), but it's an impressive start nonetheless. And the more people use the new feature, the better it hopes to get at providing accurate, near-instant translations.

Microsoft is planning to start with just a handful of language and—here's the catch—it will only work on computers running Windows. Although, support for other languages and other computers will obviously come eventually. As for the initial beta round, you should see it hitting PCs sometime later this year. [Microsoft]